First Minister Martin McGuinness has revealed he has spoken to First Minister Arlene Foster over the Renewable Heating Initiative scheme scandal.

Pressure is growing on the DUP leader to resign her post over her handling of the scheme during her time as Economy Minister.

Speaking publicly on the issue for the first time this evening, Mr McGuinness said: “I spoke by phone this afternoon with the First Minister, Arlene Foster.

“I outlined my serious concern that the credibility of the political institutions is being undermined by the serious and ongoing allegations surrounding the design, operation, abuse and ending of the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme.

“This includes allegations from a former DUP Minster that there was corruption.

“This scheme has directly impacted on the public purse. Taxpayers’ money wasted in this scheme, needs to be retrieved.

“It is my belief the only way to establish the truth, and rebuild the reputation of the institutions, is to urgently establish a fully independent investigation into this matter.

“In addition, I also said that, in the public interest, she should stand aside from the role as First Minister while that investigation is underway and at least until an initial assessment had been concluded into the veracity of all the allegations.”

“That is what I would do if I was in this situation.”

Mr McGuinness concluded: “I asked the First Minister to take the time and consider this suggestion carefully.”

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